Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Low Sunday becomes High Sunday

The Sunday after Easter is known in the church calendar as "low Sunday". One of the reasons is that it is the first Sunday of worship following the resurrection of our Lord, which was celebrated the previous week with all kinds of glorious music, pomp and circumstance. It can also be a low Sunday in terms of attendance, after the excitement of worship on Easter Sunday. In Presbyterian circles, it is sometimes referred to as "Associate Pastor Sunday" because the senior pastor frequently is not the one preaching after the busy schedule of the Lenten season. But for whatever reason, the 2nd Sunday of Easter is called Low Sunday -and our Low Sunday turned in to a very high Sunday for us in terms of worship. In the morning we worshipped at Manhattan Pres in El Paso. This is one of the small and struggling congregations, having in the past been a much larger and viable group of believers. On this particular Sunday, the worship team was simply incredible...the preacher, liturgist, song leader and organist. Preaching was Zoomer, a layman who lives his life dealing with a neurological disorder (originally misdiagnosed as Lou Gherig's disease) causing him great difficulty in both walking and using his arms and hands. He is blessed with a great singing voice and has often led the music when we have worshipped here before, but this was our first opportunity to hear Zoomer preach God's Word--and he did it powerfully. Jerry told him later it was one of the best sermons he had ever heard. The singing was led by Zoomer and Theresa, who is a professor of nursing with Texas Tech in EP, and has a beautiful voice. The liturgist, JB, is a retired teacher of English & Drama so you can imagine the quality of her voice as she led us through the service. Playing the organ is Valora, who is blind. The music team of Zoomer, Theresa and Valora gather at the church early on Sunday morning, and go over all the music together. If Valora can hear it, she can play it...and she plays it beautifully. When church was over, we felt as if we had truly worshipped and been in the presence of the Lord, through the ministry of this incredible team. Thank you and God bless every one of you. To end the day, we worshipped at Divine Savior Presbyterian Church, an Hispanic congregation, and one of our PCUSA churches in El Paso who have been gathering together for worship every Sunday evening since the first of the year, listening for God as the Presbyterian Church in El Paso. The service was conducted in word and music in both English and Spanish, with several different pastors participating in the leadership. As the body of Christ we participated in the Lord's Supper together. This was truly a great day of worship as the Family of God!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Birthday Joys....

Our birthdays were such a joyous occasion...such a blessing, even if it means being one year older. For Jerry, the birthday fell on Easter Sunday this year-- wow, that was really a celebration--being in worship, absolutely heavenly music, singing the Hallelujah Chorus together, and a perfectly glorious day. It also meant that now Jerry and I are the same age--which I always enjoy! The birthday cake was an Italian Cream Cake (for which my mother was famous), and Jerry's choice for his birthday cake..and sister-in-law Jan outdid herself. The only downside (if you call it that) is that the candles on top of the cake read 143--our total years together...whew! We celebrated it with Jan and Jim, and nephew Steve, niece Nancy, and great-nephew Jacob at our last "American Idol" gathering. After that celebration, we headed for El Paso, where we celebrated with my surrogate "sister" Judy, her husband Lynn, and our cousins, Bill and Wayne. Judy baked the German chocolate cake for the eve of my birthday...and then, when I became a year older than Jerry, the cousins took us all to Cattlemans, a fabulous restaurant out in Fabian TX (39 miles away from their house), but oh, so worth it! While we dined, the coyotes, peacocks, peahens, rabbits and little critters were up close and personal, right outside the dining room windows. The western art decor is magnificent, with lots of bronzes (many C. M. Russells) everywhere. It is always so heartwarming to receive birthday greetings from so many friends and family - and since we are on the road, Facebook provided a perfect vehicle for sending those wishes..including our AFS daughter, Ani, in Jakarta, and phone greetings from some special friends in various places who remembered the date and took the time to call--and we haven't talked to them in ages. Thank you, one and all, for all the good thoughts and wishes--we are grateful. In the last picture, Bill and I once more celebrate together with the birthday balloon that he received when we were gathered here to celebrate his 75th on January 29th - and it lasted until my birthday on April 9th. That was one fine balloon!!! Birthdays can be very special, and its our friends and families who help to make them so...we are grateful for all of you!

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